THANK YOU to everyone who commented on the post, saying lovely and encouraging things. I really appreciated it (especially the last comment from Sama/SamaFolk, that was gorgeous) but unfortunately it wasn't possible to drag the comments over here. You know who you are - thank you!
Last week I played my last ever gig in Colorado Springs, USA. I didn’t tell anyone or organise an official farewell gig because I wanted to quietly slip out the back door without a fuss, just like I do at parties :)
My passion for making “queer punk” music (or whatever you want to call it) started to slowly disintegrate a while ago if I’m being honest about it. Gigs these last few years have often felt like more of a pain in the arse than exciting events. I love being at gigs, connecting with people, seeing bits of the world, touring with fabulous talented musicians etc - but mostly when I’m performing (the important part), I honestly would prefer the stage to swallow me up rather than illuminate me.
Making and playing DIY music is a hard slog, but when you’re passionate about what you’re doing, every shit gig is worth it for a great one, all the travelling is worth it, every let down or hostile audience is worth it for the amazing audiences that cheer, the inspiring people you meet and the DIY culture you become a part of. But when you no longer enjoy playing your own music, performing is a whole lot of stress and not much else. Even on the night of my last gig I told nobody except Lukasz (my boy), played a very short set, felt uncomfortable the whole time and I just wanted it over with. I couldn’t even muster up excitement for my last moment! There was no big celebration, no feeling of finality, just a big sigh and the quiet mumble to myself, “thank fuck I never have to do that again!”. The venue and people who organised my last show in Colorado Springs were all fantastic, so thanks to the beautiful people at Flux Capacitor. It was truly a great night - all besides that singing bit!
If I'm being honest, I’ve over-immersed myself in queer culture over the years and I have been slowly finding myself disliking it. A lot. I’m more angry with fellow queer people than I am with homophobes these days and it eats me up with negativity - somethings gone seriously wrong there. Queer lyrics, politics and culture has been so integral to my music, but like an amicable divorce I have to be honest and say "sorry, but we can't go on like this". Maybe we can talk about it over a pint one day, but not over the internet. The internet is where queer culture (in my opinion) is at it’s worst, and I’d rather walk my dog.
On top of this, my taste in music has been moving away from the music I actually make, and as such it feels hollow and pointless to be playing music I just don’t really dig that much. I loved making my last album and I’m proud of it, but it must be really clear to the audiences I play to that my heart’s not in performing it (even more so with my older records). I’ve mostly been continuing my music simply because that’s “what I do”, thinking that if I keep going, it’ll become fun again. But I’ve given it several years of declining enthusiasm, taken several long breaks, cancelled many gigs, and I keep hitting this same feeling, each time more intensely. Don’t say I haven’t tried!
I hope that I’ll be making more music in the future (making music is something that I just have to do - or at least it has been so far in my life) but I’m also sure that if it happens, it has to be very different to what I’m doing now, with a different performance name (although I’ll keep the current one for real life if you don’t mind, it is my real name like!). A total fresh start, something that reflects who I am now, rather than an extension of an angry project I started when I was young, full of myself (it was great!) and hurt by homophobia. Life feels really dull when you keep doing the same thing doesn’t it? As hugely rewarding as this phase in my life has been, I love change and it’s time to see where a fresh slate leads.
I had no idea when I starting writing my new zine (a little publication capturing my favourite musicians and experiences from touring over the years) that it was going to be my final project in this vain. But it makes sense now - something in me wanted to record the fabulousness of what I’ve done while it was fresh in my mind. Putting my feelings into print has really helped me to make this decision - how ironic the power of DIY can be! I’m as proud of it as any album I’ve made, and if you do want to support me one final time I have a last tiny batch on sale here.
Thanks so, so much, a great big fucking gorgeous bundle to everyone who came to gigs, organised gigs, released my records, bought them and did all of that good stuff over the last decade (decade!) of my solo music - and to those who supported my band Stephen Nancy even before that. Thanks to everyone involved in various queer, DIY, feminist and punk scenes for all the support over the years. I won’t name anyone individually because it’ll become like the Brit Awards - there’ll be pages of it. But you DO know who you are, you are all stars and you have given me such great inspiration and memories. Keep on keeping on and be good to each other, or I’ll come and shout at ya, okay?
New start, new chapters. Farewell to the old, and fucking roll on to the NEW!
Farewell, hugs and kisses,